My Superior tried to kiss me, in his office

I knew I had to do something, tell someone but I couldn’t

Watching the ID documentary on Harvey Weinstein brought back some memories, and I could relate very much to the women who shared their stories.

Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

At 21, I got my first paying job straight out of college as a graduate intern, and my excitement could not be contained in the universe.

However, from the first day I stepped into my office, my balloon of excitement deflated faster than Usain Bolt’s record-breaking time; an older man walked into my office and our conversation went thus “You are the new girl; my office girlfriend recently resigned, so you will be my new girl”; I was flabbergasted.

Being a young female in corporate Nigeria means you have to work thrice as hard as your male counterparts, not just for your career advancement, but to leave the door open for other women who will come after you and I tried my best to leave a good impression, cleaned up my act to continually get better at my job, but when was that ever enough?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Mr. X was one person who seemed to enjoy my company, and always had a new story for me each day, so I got to know more about his family, his daughter who is about my age and in college, as he always said I reminded him of her.

He had never acted flirtatiously in over 6 months of me working there, but no sooner had I stepped into his office that Wednesday morning than he pounced on me, slowly dipped his head while staring at my lips, and I immediately entered survival mode; I don’t remember the system by which I escaped, but I did.

I knew I had to do something, tell someone but I couldn't; Confusion and self-blame set in; was my shirt too revealing, my skirt too short, my smile too much? I replayed all previous conversations in my head; did I ever do anything suggestive?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Honey, don’t blame yourself!

Healing was a long process; that office became a forbidden shrine. It took me a while to see Mr. X in the hallway and not fret. The office felt unsafe and even when I worked up the courage to share with someone else, I was asked "Why would you go to a man’s office to chat?" "Don’t you know that in itself has a suggestive undertone?"

Forgive me, I had no idea that men had been reduced to cocks that would pounce on any other hen, during heat, without reasoning or restraint, just because they can.

According to Wikipedia, Sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from verbal transgressions to sexual abuse or assault.

When male co-workers offhandedly make comments like “your butt looks nice in those jeans” “you look sexy in that dress”, I wonder if they have no idea how inappropriate they sound. Imagine I responded thus “your crotch looks unimpressive in those jeans"; I will be termed lousy because a woman dared to say the same thing men have been saying to women for years.

“The change I want to see is a start-up environment where everyone, regardless of gender and background, feels welcome and safe; where sexual harassment or discrimination will not impede great talent from producing great impact" — Christine Tsai



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